What is Christmas all about?
Christmas is the most joyful celebration of the world. Joy filled in the season of Christmas all around the world. Whatever the exact date of the incarnation of Jesus Christ (the exact day we may not know), celebrating the birth of Jesus was always filled with gladness and joy in people’s hearts.
Joy to the World.
On that first day of the first Christmas, shepherds were living out in the fields nearby. They were keeping watch of their flocks at night. The Bible says in Luke 2:9, an angel of the Lord appeared to them, the glory of the Lord shone around them, and these poor shepherds were terrified of fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you the good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” No wonder great joy is filled during the season of Christmas. All people celebrate Christmas regardless of the religious barriers. At least this is true in many countries including western countries.
Of course, when we remember Jesus Christ, there are reasons for joy, gladness, love, and hope. People express their love toward one another by giving gifts. However, God is the greatest giver of all. He gave the most significant gift ever for all humanity-His one and only Son who was with Him all through the eternity for our biggest mess- the problem of sin. The Bible declares in 2 Corinthians 9:14 (b) God has given you the surpassing grace. Thanks be to God for his Indescribable gift.
The name ‘Jesus’ is given from heaven- it has a unique meaning and answers our question.
I was wondering why the first Christmas? Why God had to send His Son, Jesus Christ to this world from heaven? Bible gives the answers to this question. Matthew 1:21 says what was announced by an angel of the Lord. It says, “You are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” You see, Jesus is a name given by heaven. It is not a name originated from earth. Something unique about the name of Jesus: this is another reason when we think about Jesus and Christmas there are joy and gladness in all people’s hearts. He was particularly given the name ‘Jesus’ because he will save his people from their sins. No other name available for the forgiveness of the sins of people. This is why the Bible declares, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” No other gurus, no other religious leaders can save you from your sins. No holy place visit would do this. Why? For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved from our sins. God placed all our sins, iniquities and trespasses on the sinless body of Jesus so that we may escape from His wrath and judgment. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “Christ never sinned, but God put our sin on Him. Then we are made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.” NLV. Jesus was the sacrificial lamb who carried our sins, iniquities, and trespasses to the cross where nailed all our sins to the cross once and for all. This is the big picture of Christmas.
Christmas story does not end with Christmas, does it?
Christmas story does not end with the first Christmas day. The story of Christmas, the glad tidings and joy is not complete until the death, burial and resurrection of that child who was born in Bethlehem. Christmas makes sense in the shadow of the cross where Jesus laid down his life for us. What did Jesus do on the cross? With one hand he held the hand of the holy God in heaven, and with the other hand Jesus reached out to our hands. Then he joined both of God and you together. He joined both together by paying with his divine, sinless dying blood. In short, Jesus paid for our sins with His blood. He is the only mediator between God and us. There is no one else out there, period! Because nobody ever could do what He did to reconcile us to God.
Listen to what the Bible describes this in Ephesians 2:13- “At one time you were far away from God. Now you have been brought close to Him. Christ did this for you when He gave His blood on the cross. We have peace (with God) because of Christ. He has made the Jews and those who are not Jews one people. He broke down the wall that divided them. He stopped the fighting between them by His death on the cross.” Then it continues to declare this verses 18-19, “Now all of us can go to the Father through Christ by way of the one Holy Spirit. From now on you are not strangers and people who are not citizens. You are citizens together with those who belong to God. You belong in God’s family.”
A cloud of His death surrounded the birth of Jesus. Why? Because that was the purpose of His coming into this world. The wise man who visited the child from the East Jesus brought forth three gifts to Him. Bible says they saw His star and came to worship Him. They came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” These mysterious wised men from East knew the king was born and they came with gifts to worship Him. Bible says in Matthew 2:10, “They opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. All three gift has significant meanings. Gold shows Jesus is the king. Frankincense or incense is what priest use in their temple services and therefore it shows Jesus is the priest – the High priest. Then the third gift, Myrrh is an extraordinary gift. In those days people used myrrh to apply on the dead body. The people in those days did not have the modern items to preserve the body. They used Myrrh and wrapped the body with clothes in several layers. Myrrh showed the death of Jesus Christ. It declared Jesus is the savior of the whole world who in indeed save people from their sins by dying in their place – by paying for the mess of sin by His divine and sinless blood.
Hundreds of prophecies had to be literally fulfilled on that first day of Christmas, hadn’t it?
What are the other reasons God send Jesus Christ on the first Christmas day? You see, if you read the Old Testament section of the Bible, from the first book called Genesis to the last book Malachi, we see a beautiful scarlet thread of God’s promises/prophecies for the coming savior who will save people from their sins. The first Christmas day was the day of more than 300 prophecies in the Bible that was pre-told hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ were fulfilled with pinpoint accuracy. God promised the coming savior of the whole world, immediately after the fall of our first parents-Adam and Eve-to sin. (Genesis 3:15). God promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 (c) that this savior would as a descendant of Abraham and through Him all the families of the world shall be blessed. God repeated this promise to Abraham’s Son Isaac and his grandson, Jacob (Genesis 26:3-4 and Genesis 28:13-14). Jacob had twelve sons from which the twelve tribes of Israel came into being. Before the death of Jacob, it was revealed to Jacob that the coming Savior and the king of the world would come from the line of Judah, one of Jacob’s son) Genesis 49:10.
Space won’t allow me to show all the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled at the time of the birth of Christmas, on the first Christmas day. However, I will high light a few more important ones.
Bible promised several hundred years ago in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This is literally fulfilled, and Matthew 1:20-23 cites this fulfillment quoting this Old Testament scripture.
Bible also promised in Isaiah 9:6-7, “A child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us. And the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.”
The passage above promises a Son will be given to us. It says the Messiah’s or the coming savior’s birth in Bethlehem was not the beginning of his life. The eternal Son of God is given to us by God, the Father. The eternal nature of His kingdom and rulership are also promised there. It ends with a unique statement, “The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” God promised with His zeal. This is why the incarnation of Jesus is such an important event in humankind’s life.
Bible gave the exact name of the place (Bethlehem) where Messiah, the savior, would be born hundreds of years before. It also said the birth of Jesus was not his beginning. It said His origins are from of old, from ancient times, showing the existence of Jesus as the Son of God in heaven in the eternity past, before his incarnation.
Read what Micah 5:2 said, “ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Bible promised hundreds of years again before what price Jesus would be betrayed in Zechariah 11:13. It said, “And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the LORD.” Jesus was indeed betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-16 records this.
The fact I want to bring to your attention is this. The second reason for the importance of the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures written about Him. All those prophesies had to be fulfilled. Jesus Himself said to the two travelers to Emmaus this when they were perplexed about the crucifixion of Jesus just happened. They sincerely thought Jesus was the redeemer. However now He was crucified, and they could not put the pieces of the puzzles together. However, Jesus walked with them said this, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” All those hundreds of prophecies regarding his coming, and crucifixion for the sins of the world had to be fulfilled. Matthew 24:25-27.
The deepest desire of our hearts found fulfillment on that day.
Another reason for the first Christmas of the incarnation of Jesus is to fulfill your heart’s desire If I am not mistaken. Phillip one of His disciple once asked the deepest desire of people’s heart. The question was this. It is recorded in John 14:8 and says, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Let me ask you this. Don’t you want to see God, your Father in heaven? Some of you may have tough fathers in this world as an earthly parent. I want to tell you this heavenly father, who is God, is the perfect father you would ever know. Earthly parents are all possessed with various shortcoming just like you, and I are. From the age-old time, humanity wanted to see God and know how God looks like and behaves. Don’t you agree? Phillip echoed the same sentiment of all people. Jesus answered and said this. Each word of His statement is important. Go slow, read and understand. “Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. (John 14:9-11).
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Do you want to see God? Do you want to know the heart of God? Do you want to look at the actions and characters of God? Take a look at Jesus. Read the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). When you see Jesus, you are seeing God. He is the full revelation of God.
Without the first Christmas, when Jesus born into this world from heaven through the Virgin Mary, we will never know and understand who God is. I know in your heart; you want to see God as Phillip said. Don’t you? Take a Bible and read the first four books of the New Testament and see God in action.
The way is revealed! Do you know the way? How do I know it?
Finally, I want to bring to your attention one more reason why Jesus was born on that first Christmas filled with wonder, joy, and gladness. When the time of Jesus’s going back to heaven (from where He came) arrived, He said to His disciple that He is going to go away, but He will come back to take them so that they will also be where He is. Then Jesus said this cardinal statement, “You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:4). Thomas replied and asked another age-old question. “How can we know the way?” John 14:5.
You see another vital question of humanity is this -how can we know the way to heaven? What happens after my death? Is death the end of all? Alternatively, is there something after my death? How can we know the way to heaven so that I can live forever? Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity; we look back on the past and ponder over the future.” (The Voice). We all think abuot future and what happens to us. God placed such thought in our mind so that we would find out the way to heaven. “How can we know the way?” Jesus replied to this question. Listen to each word of Jesus’s statement again. He answered this vital question of people. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In short what He said is this- He is the way. He is the truth. And He is the life. Do you want to know the way to heaven? Do you want to know the truth about the future? Do you want to get life after death? No one comes to the Father. This means no one comes to the heaven where God, the Father lives except through Him (Jesus Christ, the Savior of the whole world), Period!
When you think, finally this settles it.
You may say, Sam, look that does not make sense. Sam, you are so narrow in your mind and thought. Beloved, Listen, I did not say this. I did not make it up. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, who came to pay for all of your sins and die in your place said this. If He said, it is Amen to me. Do you know anyone else who died in your place? For all of your sins, iniquities, and trespasses? I do not know anyone else? Do you? Only Son of God could pay for your sins. The truth is He did it. He died in your place and rose again from the dead and proved He paid for all your sins. Now if He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I do not have any problem. I believe it one hundred percent.
I am going to stop here. I have illustrated four reasons for the first Christmas day. Even this year in a few days, the world is going to remember His incarnation, if the second coming of Christ, does not happen before this December 25th.
I hope I answered the question briefly – What is Christmas all about anyway?
Do you know He still knocks? And it is not late yet.
I hope you will remember the birth of Jesus Christ (His incarnation into this world) in a more understanding way. Moreover, I hope you will know the truth, and as a result, you will accept Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord. Jesus said this, “ Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me.” Will you open the door of your heart for the Lord Jesus who died to save you from all your sins, past, present, and future- and grant you eternal life forever in heaven with Him? Beloved, Will you do it now? If so, I will help you to settle your sin issue and eternal life issue once and for all.
Pray after me, please.
“Father in heaven, I know now the reasons for your birth in Bethlehem. I believe you came to this sin bound earth from heaven on that first Christmas day, to save me from my sins and grant me eternal life. I believe you died in my place, carried all my sins on your body and willingly died and rose again for me. I am sorry for my sins. I open my heart as you asked me to do. Come into my life and establish your love and fellowship with me today and forever. Thank you for coming into my life although I am not worthy. However, still, you care about me and loves me. Thank you. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.